What is Fitness?

The definition of fitness is something that has been widely disputed for many decades.

Googles definition is ‘the condition of being physically fit and healthy’. While the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), the most respected publisher in exercise physiology, in its highly recognised "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning," does not even attempt a definition. In my eyes the only reliable source is that of CrossFit Inc who actually show the models of fitness to back up their definition.

CrossFit Define What is fitness? As Increased work capacity across broad times and modal domains.

CrossFit makes use of three different models for evaluating and defining their definition of fitness. Collectively, these three models define the CrossFit view of fitness. The first is based on the 10 general physical skills widely recognized by exercise physiologists. The second model, is based on the performance of athletic task (the Hopper), while the third is based on the energy systems that drive all human action.

Model Number 1 ‘ The 10 General Physical Skills’

There are 10 recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these 10 skills. A regimen develops fitness to the extent that it improves each of these 10 skills.

Model Number 2 ‘The Hopper Model’ 

This model is the view that fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable. Picture a hopper loaded with an infinite number of physical challenges, , you are then being asked to perform tasks randomly drawn from the hopper. This model suggests that your fitness can be measured by your capacity to perform well at these tasks in relation to other individuals.

The component here is that fitness requires an ability to perform well at all tasks, even unfamiliar tasks and tasks combined i varying combinations. In practice this encourages the athlete to disinvest in any set notions of sets, rest periods, reps, exercises, order of exercises, routines, periodization, etc. Nature frequently provides largely unforeseeable challenges; train for that by striving to keep the training stimulus broad and constantly varied

Model Number 3 ‘The Energy Systems’

There are three metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action. These Systems are known as the phosphagen (or phosphocreatine) pathway, the glycolytic (or lactate) pathway and the oxidative (or aerobic) pathway. The fitness that CrossFit promotes requires competency and training in each of these three pathways. Balancing the effects of these three pathways largely determines the how and why of the metabolic conditioning or “cardio” that we do at CrossFit

The reason for the three standards is simply to ensure the broadest and most general fitness possible. Our first model evaluates our efforts against a full range of general physical skills. In the second, the focus is on the depths of our performance. With the third, the measure is time, power and consequently energy systems. It should be fairly clear that the fitness CrossFit advocates and develops is deliberately broad, general and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.

In Essence Fitness is about being Physically prepared for anything life throws at us, ie being prepared for the unknown and unknowable.

By; Reece Mitchell, Performance Coach